Saturday, August 12, 2006

Final Portion

Part Three

So the question is, how does one see/experience a city as an expression of the divine feminine? How, after so many years of being bombarded by male and masculine imagery and ideology can one even hope to see a city, or any piece of the urban environment, as anything other then a variation of a penis? The first step is to shake up our individual perceptions of what a city is. We do this be re-imagining a city’s physical geography.

It is normal to assign the term phallic to skyscrapers and lampposts and other things that jut out or rise up. But what do we call the soft areas of a city? What do we call the curves and dips and winding pathways? Most of us don’t call them anything and hardly pay them any attention. When we are in these spaces, we can—with self-training—we can assign female physical characteristics to these areas. That curve is a hip, that low point between two hills is the concave between the breasts, that angled point is the pubis; when we are dealing with the physical in a city, we deal with the female anatomy. After we have developed some facility for this, we ascend (or descend, depending on how you want to view it) to the level of myth and story.

Most people don’t have any real knowledge of or exposure to mythology, aside from Disney cartoons and the limited Greek and Roman mythology they may have learned in grade school. This is problematic because—despite the idea of the mono-myth—many people cannot culturally relate to most public (read Christian, Greek and Roman) mythology, so they take what they can get and force connectedness. But everyone who is blessed with a family has family stories. And if you cannot enter a mythic mind-state via cultural mythology, you can use the myths of your family. To view the metropolis as sacred and feminine, you can tap into the stories of the great women of your family and use them as a lens through which to view the city.
For example, you are on a train and it enters a tunnel. For someone well-versed/trained in mythology, this person might reflect on the Sumerian myth The Descent of Inanna roughly interpreted and understood as: going through the darkness only to emerge into the light a better, more enlightened individual. But a person with no real knowledge or exposure to mythology could reflect on one of their female ancestors who went through a period of hardship and pain only to come out of the other end a stronger, wiser women.

This idea may seem as if it is a silly, time-consuming, feminist ideological trope to reclaim and reposition the idea of the sacred woman in the public sphere. It is not that, at all. It is—once you have either been initiated into it by someone or come to the realization on your own—a way to have hope that the sacred feminine is alive and well and, most importantly, all around us.

At this point in our collective history, this may be a ‘man’s world’ but if we cast our gaze just-off-center, tilt our heads while looking at buildings, catch things in the reflections of windows and feel the curves on the road as we hurtle to our next destination; it is in these moments that we will begin to understand that this is far from being only a man’s world. It is up to us to recognize that the divine feminine is all around us, housing us, allowing us to get from point a to point be. If we train ourselves to do this, are able to do this, maybe the city will give up her secrets.

--Shawn Taylor


Blogger nickyjett said...

This is not a plug I repeat this is not a plug! However I believe "knowing" mythology is embedded in our DNA. I wrote a similar "train" passage in my novel - and yes the female character is in the abyss. What I didn't realize until now is the symbolism. See I wrote that scene from the heart, never realizing the connection until now. Thank you - you never even read my urban fantasy but you shed light on my own work. wow.

8:58 AM  

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